The winter season and, for some, the holiday season is approaching, and along with it comes finals and other potentially related stressors. On top of the things we may generally navigate on a daily basis, 2020 has brought unique obstacles. Now more than ever, it is crucial to put our mental health and well-being first. Keep reading for some healthy coping and stress-relief activities and options!

Confide in loved ones, friends, or other individuals for support

Oftentimes safe support systems can offer perspective on situations or related emotions you may be feeling. 

Plan

The winter/holiday season can be financially burdening and/or emotionally taxing. Prioritize what this time of year means to you and navigate from that lens. That may mean DIY gifts being just as special as other gifts, handwritten notes, or even vocalizing care through a call or text. This may also mean making time to be alone to rest and recharge and finding things that feel special for you to do.

Fuel your body

Eat food that is appealing and satisfying. Food provides the energy and nutrients necessary to support your physical and mental wellness through the holidays and beyond. Enjoy the foods that are part of your holiday traditions. Incorporating multiple food groups in meals and snacks will assure that you get a variety of nutrients. For example, this might mean pairing holiday cookies with a glass of milk, candied nuts with dried fruit, or potato latkes with applesauce.

Sleep

A healthy amount of sleep is just as essential for your mental and physical health and can feel hard to prioritize when busy and focused on studying for finals, safely spending time with others, or managing other priorities like work. Focusing on preparing for sleep and a sleep environment conducive to rest can make a large difference. This may mean setting times to put technology aside for the evening, doing deep breathing, journaling to slow the mind, and setting an intentional bed time. Read more about the importance of sleep and tips. 

Fun activities

Making time for fun activities that support well-being can help relieve stress and bring a sense of joy to your daily routine. Looking for ideas of some simple things to do this winter season? Check these out:

Wellness Wonderland - Have Some Fun This Winter Break: Cozy up by the fire; Make s'mores and hot chocolate; Have a movie marathon; Knit a scarf; Drive around and look at lights; Go star gazing

If you chose the “Have a movie marathon” option, here are some films to get you started:

Holiday movies available on streaming services

Other tips and reminders to keep in mind if choosing to drink or safely gather with others this winter/holiday season 

Measure your drinks!

If you are choosing to drink, be aware of how much alcohol is in your drink by measuring one standard drink at a time. Remember, one shot of 80 proof liquor (1.5 oz) is a standard drink. Measuring drinks will help someone ensure they are having standard drinks when seasonal mixers can mask alcohol taste.

Make a plan!

If you are hanging out with a small group of friends from home, ensure CDC guidelines are followed and create a game-plan for the night. Enjoy some of the fun activities provided here! And if you are choosing to drink, set a limit, space out drinks, eat a balanced meal beforehand, and coordinate safe transportation to and from the hangout.

And remember, if you are hosting a holiday event, make sure to have non-alcoholic options and food available to be inclusive of those who are choosing not to drink or are in recovery.


Be sure to follow the University Health Center on Instagram (@ugahealthcenter) for more wellness tips and fun things to do this winter/holiday season!

Looking for Support

The Fontaine Center is available to help with needs related to Alcohol and Other Drugs. Feel free to call the Fontaine Center (706-542-8690) and schedule a free virtual check-in, or ask to speak with one of our trained Alcohol and Other Drug Counselors or Educators.

Written by: the Be Well Peer Educators: Peers for Alcohol and Other Drug Education (PADE)The Fontaine Center / UHC Health Promotion